A little town can change your life

There was a time when I once was in love with a gay man… this was back when I was still thoroughly terrified of children and vowed that I would never have any. Anyway, the night that he came out to me was the same night I professed my love to him. Talk about humiliating? Indeed!
Well, after months of “grieving” he invited me to join him on his family vacation to Waveland, Mississippi.
Waveland is not your typical tourist attraction… Trailor homes, old school walmart- no super center, no starbucks. The cell reception was horrible too, and most of the house’s windows were boarded in preparation of what doom was to come. It was like a deserted nuclear testing site in town, but the people were insanely friendly, helpful and the beach was a peaceful sweet escape.
I had never really been on a vacation out of state, much less without my family so of course I wanted to go. I threatened to quit my job just to go on this trip; I needed a break from school, work and family. His family was like my surrogate family anyway… Little did I know that I was joining his entire immediate and extended family for this trip. I was the only person out of 30+ individuals who knew that he was gay; how I managed not to out him that week still baffles me.
The family was your typically disfunctional bunch with big hearts, mouths and lots of booze. They welcomed me with ease and put me straight to work…(Since neither My friend nor me were 21 we were stuck) babysitting. I suppose the upside was that we were paid to watch the kids while the parents gambled. So I made cash on vacation and the more they won at the casinos, the more we earned.
I will not lie, being stuck in an old, wood beach house with 4 kids with ADHD, a sleepy baby, old scary movies, a gay dude and cockroaches really was a test of patience and strength. Needless to say that we all survived… Thanks to booze and Raid!
Truth be told that it was a great vacation… Despite getting trapped on the roof with one of the cousins who first asked me if Ry was gay and then tried to kiss me. Ew! I got so much sun… We were literally a 30 second walk to the beach and it was gorgeous all week. I had the best chicken salad sandwich at this little shop on the beach in Bay St. Louis and I even won my first ever, and only hand of poker!
I came to terms with my friends sexuality and learned quite a bit about myself in that short week. I am grateful for the time I spent there, for the people I met- who touched my life and made me appreciate life without cell service and starbucks.

A month later, Waveland and Bay St. Louis were wiped off of the map by hurricane Katrina. Much of Ry’s family actually lived there and were displaced… as was the entire town. Very little efforts were made to restore life in the “sticks” because of the stink raised in New Orleans, but the unity of one town overcame mother nature and I cannot wait to return one day to see how far they have come.


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